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How tattoos affect skin cells; Part I

PART 1

How a tattoo is applied

To create a tattoo, a tattoo artist uses an electric device that contains tubes with ink attached to sterilized needles. By working a foot pedal, the artist injects the ink into your skin, moving the needles in and out to do so. So a tattoo is basically a series of puncture wounds puncturing the skin around 200 times per min.

Why Tattoos Last

skin_Layers_You may have heard that your skin cells are constantly being replenished. So why do tattoos last? Your skin is made up of a number of different layers of cells, including the epidermis, the dermis, and the hypodermis. When first injected into the skin, tattoo ink spreads from the puncture site to both the epidermis and the dermis. The upper layer of skin, the epidermis, contains keratin-producing cells, cells important for immune responses, and cells producing pigment. It's the epidermis that's regularly sloughed off and replenishes. And as your tattoo heals, this layer of skin does its job. Immune cells or phagocytes engulf the ink and epidermal cells flake off, carrying ink away. It's how your dermis reacts that makes your tattoo more or less permanent.

The dermis is the skin layer beneath the epidermis where you find collagen- and elastin-producing cells, hair follicles, oil glands, and yes, pain and touch receptors, this is where the ink has to go to stay and look pretty, so yes tattoos hurt.. The dermis also contains cells involved in immune responses and that recognize the tattoo ink as foreign. However, the dermis doesn't turn over its cells the way the epidermis does. Tattoo ink is trapped in the dermis in a meshwork of fibroblast cells and collagen that form granulation tissue. If a tattoo is done properly, tattoo ink won't reach the bottom layer, the hypodermis, which provides a layer of fatty tissue and more support for the dermis and epidermis. As you get much older, the tattoo pigment may migrate deeper into the dermis (that's why your tattoo may fade a bit over time), but for the most part, it remains at the upper portion of the dermis, closer to the epidermis.

Health Concerns

Because the punctures made in your skin to create a tattoo create a temporary open wound, there's a risk of infection. You should be immunized for hepatitis and tetanus before you get a tattoo. Though professional tattoo artists use sterile equipment, it's best to be safe.

If you have certain medical conditions, you're better off not getting a tattoo. For example, any condition that makes your immune system vulnerable makes a tattoo a bad choice. So if you have heart disease (which can worsen by infection), diabetes, or allergies, you should probably avoid getting a tattoo.

Allergies to Tattoo Inks

You also may be allergic to ingredients found in tattoo inks. The catch is that different color dyes will include different ingredients. Some inks include metals, others carbon or even plastic polymers. The FDA does not regulate the tattoo industry or the inks used for tattooing and so you accept a certain amount of risk when you get a tattoo and you should go somewhere you know you can trust the artist and the products the artist uses like at REBEL INK. Tattoo shops are not licensed or regulated by the health department like most people think. A lot of shops/studios get away w/ a lot of unsanitary practices & are not a good place to get a tattoo just because its looks like a professional place of biz. Your artist should be certified in CPR, AED & Blood borne Pathogens they should have a card they can show you that certifies them in these fields.

art-body_In addition to the basic ingredients that give tattoo ink its color, tattoo ink is often thinned before use with solutions like alcohol, purified water, witch hazel, and even Listerine. (This is not a practice at REBEL INK I shoot all my inks 100% pure how I receive them direct from the manufacture) Also, if you're allergic to latex watch out, because your tattoo artist will likely be wearing latex gloves, if you're allergic to latex you should let your tattoo artist know before they start your tattoo, also you should let them know if you have any other health issues.